Mermaid Freedive® Summit: The Pro'fish'ional Mermaid Network Event

Calling all merfolk! Splash into our recap of the Mermaid Freedive® Summit, the perfect blend of informative presentations, poolside fun, and beachside camaraderie. We'll share our experience, from the dynamic workshops to the dazzling gala, and propose a few fin-tastic tweaks to make it an even more unforgettable event. Get ready to be inspired for your next mermaid escapade!

Corinna Schwozer

6/1/20244 min read

A Fin-tastic Time at the Mermaid Freedive® Summit: A Mermazing Recap!

Hey there, fin-folk! We just wrapped up our three-month East Coast adventure, attending mermaid conventions across the US. Our final stop was the Mermaid Freedive ® Summit, and let me tell you, it was a wave-crashingly good time!

Being reunited after my husband's Massachusetts business trip, we dove headfirst into the convention with excitement. Here's a glimpse into our underwater (and out-of-water) experiences:

Making a Splash: The Pool Day

Being the first convention during a time and in a location favourable for outdoor swimming, we could finally enjoy an outside-pool-workshop day! A refreshing change, though the Florida sun sure packed a punch. Despite applying sunscreen twice throughout the convention (I should have taken the warnings of the experienced Florida mers even more seriously!), aloe vera became my new best friend that night. But hey, a little sunburn is a small price to pay for mermaid fun in the sun!

The workshops were a well-balanced mix. Some required an extra fee, but there were plenty of freebies to enjoy, for example:

  • Friendly Mermaid Competition Prep: In order for everyone to shine at the competition at the end of the day, Brandee shared her best tricks and tips for creating a great routine and performing the different moves well.

  • Freediving Safety Refresh Course: The chance for everyone to re-cap or learn how to be a fin-tastic rescuer for your fellow merfolk.

  • Dynamic Apnea Techniques: The perfect chance to take your breath control to new depths, taking advantage of the experienced spotters for the necessary safety and additional tips (Julio actually was able to 2.5x his breath hold through their tips!)

The competition itself was a highlight. Due to its low-key, everyone was encouraged to participate, no matter their previous (performance) expertise. Everyone was so encouraging and it was a great training ground, weaving graceful movements together and applying the things learned in previous workshops for creating captivating performances. Even for non-participants, watching underwater was an experience in itself. By 4 pm, the pool day wrapped up, leaving us wishing for some post-swim social recommendations. (P.S. We stumbled upon a fantastic restaurant called "The Kilted Mermaid" – perfect for a mermaid meet-up!)

Gala Glitz and Glamour

The Friday night free slot gave the day-gala presenters precious prep time. Starting Saturday at 1 pm felt a bit late, but hey, it gave everyone ample opportunity to flaunt their most dazzling costumes (and let me tell you, the mermaid fashion did not disappoint!).

The 5-hour gala presentation was cleverly combined with an ongoing, yummie buffet, and later on a great crafting workshop from @charity.grace in which we created our own shell necklace, ensuring our energy levels stayed high throughout.

Along with that, we had great presentations to keep our interests up:

  • PADI and the Mermaid World: Sharing the vision and mission of PADI and how you can dive deeper into the mermaid world with its certifications (@deepblue.mermaid, @deepbluefreediving, @padiaware)

  • MerMapp's Anti-Drama Mermaid Course: A sneak peak into course's the key ingredients of communication, awareness, and respect for a powerful shortcut to harmony!

  • Building your Brand & Mersona: Tips and tricks of how to intelligently become a ProMer with a successful brand, a cohesive mersona and staying environmentally conscious (@verobeachmermaid, @olivethealchemist)

  • How to Up your Performances: Become a proficient, powerful and poised underwater mover & model by knowing how to handle your performance environment, your body, equipment & expressions and finding your own style (@merman.andy, @karibbeanmermaids)

  • Mermaid Photography Mastery: Capture stunning underwater portraits that will make jaws drop (or should I say, gills flare?) - @waterbearphotography

  • Mermaid & NGO Power for cleaner oceans: An intro into PADI Aware, Dive Against Debris and Coasta Connection's sea turtle conservation efforts (@mermaidtasha, @coastalconnections)

The cherry on top? A fun dance workshop led by @theabalonemerman. We learned a catchy mermaid-themed choreography that incorporated dynamic apnea – a truly unique experience!

Two hours after the gala kicked off, the party shifted to a nearby club. The DJ was electric, and everyone danced the night away to a mix of classics and the latest hits. Let's just say, mermaids can definitely hold their liquor (pun intended)!

Beach Bonanza: Sunday

Sunday began with a beach clean-up at 10 am. A curious choice in our humble opinion, considering the late-night revelry and the unforgiving Florida sun. But the cause was undeniably noble! We joined forces with CoastalConnections, an NGO dedicated to ocean conservation, to collect trash and contribute to a scientific data collection effort. Every piece of plastic was documented and weighed, adding to the "citizen plastic" movement that influences policy changes. In total we collected over 23 pounds of plastic!!

Following the clean-up, the grand finale was a drone photo of all the mermaids on the beach. The sight of us arranged in a vibrant display of colors drew curious onlookers – "You can't make this stuff up!" we overheard one amazed beachgoer remark.

After that, it was all about enjoying the waves and seeking refuge under the lone beach umbrella Brandee so thoughtfully brought.

Our Verdict: A Tail of Two Days (Maybe?)

We thoroughly enjoyed the Mermaid Freedive® Summit, and we have a few ideas for tweaks that could make it even more fin-tastic:

  • Consolidate to Two Days: Spreading the activities across three days felt a bit stretched. We propose adding the beach drone photo after the pool day for some lovely sunset vibes, followed by an optional bonfire/picknick there to enjoy the rest of the evening together. This would have still provided enough rest for the gala on Saturday. Additionally, moving the beach clean-up session after the gala on Saturday would not only have provided us some welcome movement after 5 hours of sitting, but also saved us from the scorching sun and heat in the late morning hours. Ending Saturday with the dancing frenzy at the club would have also provided for a fintastic ending on a high note.

  • Beach Clean-up Location: While the clean-up effort itself was fantastic, Vero Beach seemed relatively pristine already. Perhaps choosing a location in greater need of attention would provide a more impactful experience.

What We Loved: The Spirit of Connection

Despite these suggestions, the Mermaid Freedive® Summit gets a big thumbs up (or should I say, a big fin up?) from us. The intimate setting, with only 50 merfolk, fostered a strong sense of community. Unlike other conventions with multiple, simultaneous sessions, everyone participated in the same activities, allowing for deeper connections and a shared focus. The presentations were informative and engaging, and the social events provided ample opportunities to mingle with fellow merfolk. We especially want to commend Brandee for creating such a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. We left with a heart full of warm memories and a handful of fantastic new MerFriends!

This marks the end of our East Coast mermaid convention adventure! Buckle up, because in our next blog post, we'll be diving into a fin-tastic comparison of all the conventions we attended. Plus, we'll be giving you a sneak peek at what MerMapp has brewing for the future – stay tuned!